Today’s connected customer has a voice that should not be ignored. Retailers need to recognise the omnichannel needs of the shopper in order to thrive.

Retailers will only survive in today’s marketplace if they connect, resonate and relate to their customers. Despite some resistance to adopting digital use and tools, digital is the connective tissue to the customer today.

Retailers who ignore this and do not adopt a multichannel strategy will not be chosen by the customer as a business that they want to shop with.

Salesforce’s Empowered Shopper Report 2017 highlights the importance of digital tools to enrich the relationship with your customer and offers insight into what motivates shoppers to choose your brand over your competitors.

My key takeouts include:

1. Mobile is your new shop window


I love this quote from the report: "Everyone is connected – and their phones are retail highways". It shows the importance of mobile – without roads, people can’t navigate easily.

Your customers expect their experiences in store and online to look and feel the same on different devices. By the end of 2017 more than 60% of digital traffic will come from phones and shoppers will place more orders on their phones than any other device.

The leading brands and retailers understand consumers’ expectations of consistency. They also understand that, to ensure consistency, end-to-end integrated systems are essential.

2. Connected customers feel empowered


Globally, 17% of shopping sites mobile traffic is made up of active shoppers but only 2.3% are buyers. So if they aren’t shopping, they are researching, browsing and comparing.

The Empowered Shopper report revealed that Australian shoppers expect certain features when making online purchases via a mobile device, including:

  • Price comparisons: 59%

  • Compare similar products: 54%

  • Check in-store availability: 50%

  • Purchase products for delivery: 46%

  • Product and customer support, or customer service: 45%

  • Online ratings and reviews: 43%

These features are not hard for retailers to provide with today’s commerce platforms, which help retailers keep customers’ needs top of mind, listen to what they want and respond instantly to build the kind of personalised experiences across every channel that create loyalty and advocacy.  

3. Connected customers want a simple checkout


The report also highlights the key facets of the decision making journey:

  • In Australia and NZ, 98% of millennials, 89% of gen Xers and 78% of baby boomers own smartphones, and they increasingly want mobile shopping experiences.

  • Globally in 2016, just over 45% of traffic came from phones, but only 25% of orders were placed on phones.

  • By the end of 2017, more than 60% of digital traffic will come from phones and shoppers will place more orders on their phones than any other device.

These stats tell us one thing – ordering online is currently too complicated and needs to be simplified. In the age of the customer, the retailers who prioritise making the online purchasing experience easier for customers will be in the best position to compete, as the report reveals that “40% of online buyers said they would be more likely to shop with a particular retailer if the checkout process were significantly streamlined.”

Often it is more a process than a technology issue that needs to be addressed:

  • Customers can’t find answers to questions they want answered before ordering.

  • They want to edit their basket but can’t, so they abandon it.

  • They want to add something to their cart and can’t.

  • They get sticker shock at costs added at the end of the purchasing process.

Retailers and brands who provide seamless and integrated purchasing experience will be the ones who win customer loyalty.

Key takeaways for retailers


For today’s retailer, the cold hard truth is that you need to be agile, informed and connected. You need to use an assortment of tools to connect to customers in a way that reflects their existing in person experience.

Technology can empower retailers to achieve this by providing a single view of the customer’s needs and behaviours and to allow them to connect with customers in new ways that help them form long-term relationships.

Then, and only then, will a customer choose your brand.

Download the Empowered Shopper Report 2017 today for all the insights on how shopper behaviour is changing and to see case studies from brands who are successfully meeting these new demands.